Making the most of every meal while travelling is one of the tenants of seeing the world right, but knowing where to sup when you hit the ground in a new city can be tricky. I’ve had a lot of people mention that they’ve used my guide to Hong Kong when they visited this city, and it’s great to know it’s helped people find the best bits.
Hong Kong has some amazing places to nosh, but let’s face it, also some not so good ones. The sheer amount of choice can be overwhelming when you’re new, and it’s sometimes impossible to pick the diamond out of the rough. In the past Hong Kong has provided well for the Michelin Star addict, and also those who prefer to sit in a Dai Pai Gong on the street, but recently there’s been a growth spurt of yummy, mid-range restaurants that provide the food and atmosphere you’re after when you travel (without blowing you budget, or having you wonder what the suspicious looking meat could possibly be). I thought I would share a few of these with you. All of my picks are located on Hong Kong Island… What can I say, I like to be able to walk to and from my favourite places!
Thai street food inspired by the Isarn region, my boyfriend and I are pretty much a permanent fixture here. Great drinks, fun music, everyone sitting all squashy together. The food is simple and yet stand out, with lots of yummy (but spicy) salads, fish and curries on the menu. When people ask me what makes a good place to eat I have to say the food, the atmosphere and the music, and I think they’ve got all three right here. Ask for the salads with less chilli if you’re not into super spicy food. My favourite is the Gai Yung chicken and the crispy pork Lap Moo.
One of my boyfriend’s recent projects (shameless, but justified, plug here), the lightly Italian inspired food here is absolutely delicious and the atmosphere is spot on. It’s cosy and cool in a way that many restaurant in Hong Kong just aren’t, with bar seating and a lounge area complete with foosball table. It also has an outdoor terrace which is great for drinks, you must order the Farmhouse Jam cocktail (seen in the top left picture above).
A touch of old world Hong Kong in this traditional tea house set in the beautiful gardens of Hong Kong Park, this is my favourite for dim sum lunch. It’s one of those places that actually very few people know about in Hong Kong. The food is vegetarian but very very delicious (one of those – I can’t even tell there’s no meat- situations). Make sure you take home some jasmine tea from the tea shop! If you’re looking for more, jazzed up, dim sum try either Duddells (lovely upstairs terrace) or DragonI (turns into a nightclub at night, so yeah, there’s that).
The China Club
Somewhat of an establishment in Hong Kong, it’s members only but if you’re lucky your hotel may be able to book it for you (I’ve heard of friend’s who’s hotels have done this). A little bit kitschy, a little bit Shanghai retro, decked out in a Chinese Tea House style with the most amazing modern artwork I’ve ever seen, it serves traditional Chinese food with a side of noodle pulling and tea ceremony. It’s a fun friday night and gets the good kind of rowdy. Have a drink on the roof once you’ve finished dinner.
This adorable tea house is set behind Tai Ping Shan Street in one of the last remaining old world areas of Central (i.e. 5 storey walk ups are yet to be replaced by 55 storey high rises, although the original inhabitants and old Chinese workshops owners are pretty much gone these days). Teakha has a slight Korean feel with it’s cutesy teal walls, ceramic cups and green tea cakes. Such a great spot to sit and relax, if you can try to get there during the week because it’s packed to the gills on the weekends. The area around here is a great place to explore small shops, art galleries and the Cat Street Markets.
Another of my boyfriend’s projects (don’t worry, I’m unbiased in my recommendations), this Laneway Mexican cantina brings a touch of LA to Hong Kong, with rough furniture, graffiti walls and blaring, fun hip hop music. The crowd is pretty fun and the wait for tables can be daunting, but it’s a great way to spend your late Saturday night. I’m told they serve food til 2am, not that I’ve had to test that before. Really hard to find down a laneway next to Milan Station (the handbag shop) Lan Kwai Fong but totally worth the adventure.
Not quite the same as the no frills style Greek restaurants I used to go to in Australia, this is a sexed up version with great food and a great atmosphere, it’s the perfect place for a night of wine, delicious haloumi and music. The Cypriot salad is to die for.
This tiny Schezwan joint is not for the faint hearted, as it serves seriously hot, but delicious food. It only seats 12 people so make sure you book in advance, and don’t bother taking anyone who can’t handle the spice, the food here is the hottest I have ever tasted. If you like spicy food you have to (AS IN HAVE TO) go.
Unfortunately breakfasts are nothing to write home about in Hong Kong, but you’ll be happy to hear that in the last few years the standard of coffee has slowly risen. The flat whites knocked up by the twins at Commonground are great and it’s a very cute spot on the stairs to sit and have some scrambled eggs.
Quick, simple and incredibly delicious, this Vietnamese noodle joint is one of my regular lunchtime haunts. Every time I go there I can’t help but exclaim about how yummy everything is, and it’s MSG free! May sound trivial but you’ll be surprised how few places are in Hong Kong. Just writing about it is making me crave a pho!